Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  


Jonny Sundt's K2 Enemy
T-Mobile Cannondale
Cedric Gracia's Gemini
ONCE-Eroski Giant
Team Telekom Pinarello
Team CSC Cervélo
Team Saeco Cannondale
FDJ Lapierre
Jan Ullrich's Bianchi
Kashi Leuchs Trek Fuel
West Virginia Merlin
Dufaux's De Rosa King
2002 Pro Bikes

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cedric Gracia's 2003 Cannondale Gemini CG

First off the rank
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin/Cyclingnews

Sign here please

By Paul Mirtschin

Gracia and his bike
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Cannondale like to do things a bit different, especially when it comes to their downhill team bikes, as many have noticed with their Fulcrum and the first Gemini bikes. But for 2003 Cannondale have gone with the "Keep It Simple" school of design. A newly designed swingarm mounts to a slightly tweaked front end to produce not only a stiffer frame, but one that acts as a spring to eliminate bottom-out stress points. The bike we saw is pretty close to the final design, one that will actually be available for sale in the coming months. Cedric and team mechanic Doug Dalton have spent the last few months tweaking and adjusting a number of frames to get to this point, and Cedric said he couldn't be happier, "Last year's frames were strong, we only had one small crack appear in one of my frames, but this frame is even stronger".

You go squish now
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Weighing in at 41lbs, the bike has the cream of downhill components. But the most noticeable part on the bike is the new swingarm. Doug Dalton told us that the new swingarm is stiffer torsionally, thanks to the new braces and a new "keyed" 12mm rear axle with a 145mm hub spacing. But on bottom-out, the new bracing actually allows the swingarm to flex vertically to eliminate stress points at the welds. The floating rear brake has also had some tweaking over the 2002 model, with the main change seen in the brace. The frame has also had some geometry changes over last years model, with both the headtube and seat-tube dropping back a few degrees.

The team is using Mavic's tubeless DeeMax wheelset with 2.8" Hutchison Octopus tires. Doug runs them with a little of Stan's No-Tubes liquid to ensure a good seal that will not blow out. The rear wheel runs a Hugi FR hub instead of the Mavic rear hub.

The hand rests
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Shifting comes via an XTR short cage rear mech, with an XTR shifter pod letting it know what gear. Doug has removed the gear indicator however, as it isn't needed and would break in a crash anyway. Braking is courtesy of Shimano's XT brakes at both ends, running 203mm discs.

Manitou Racing Development's Dorado DH forks sit nicely up front of a lot of pro bikes, and Gracia's Gemini is no exception. Clamped to the top of the forks are a pair of Oval Concept's riser bars to give Cedric something to hang on to. Manitou also supplies the rear shock, a Swinger 4-Way running a light but expensive titanium spring. The inners of this shock have been modified by Doug to give maximum performance under extreme race conditions.

XTR cranks and custom Shimano bottom bracket round out the package, with the frames Cedric uses running a "Magic Cup" bottom bracket system, allowing quick replacement of bearings or axel.

We would like to thank Cedric, Doug and Cannondale for letting us crawl over the bike and for answering our questions.


Images by Paul Mirtschin/Cyclingnews

Cedric Gracia's 2002 bike

Full specification

Frame: 2003 Cedric Gracia Gemini DH signature model
Rear shock: Manitou Swinger 4-Way
Fork: Manitou Dorado DH
Colour: Gold

Cranks: Shimano XTR DH with E-Thirteen chain device
Front derailleur: None
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR short cage
Brakes: Shimano XT Disc
Shimano XT Disc

Rims: Mavic DeeMax tubeless
Hubs: Mavic front, Hugi FR rear
Skewers: Keyed bolt through, Manitou front, custom rear
Tires: Hutchison Octopus 2.8" tubeless

Stem: None, bars attach directly to fork
Headset: Cane Creek
Bar: Oval Concepts

Pedals: Shimano PD-M535 or flats
Seat post: Oval Concepts
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Plateau